Man Enters 'Not Guilty' Plea In Deadly Lebanon Explosion

Man Enters 'Not Guilty' Plea In Deadly Lebanon Explosion

CREATED Feb 18, 2014

LEBANON, Tenn. – The man accused of killing his in-laws with an explosive device in Lebanon last week has pleaded not guilty.

Richard Parker, who worean orange jail jumpsuit and showed little emotion, answered brief questions from the judge with "yes" and "no" during his arraignment in a Wilson County courtroom.

Parker pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon. 

Parker also told a judge that he didn't have the money to make his $1 million bond. He will be held until a motions hearing on April 8.

The victims were Parker's father-in-law, 74-year-old Jon Setzer, and mother-in-law, 72-year-old Marian Setzer. A memorial service has been planned for the couple on Saturday at noon at the First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville. Visititation will be held starting at 9 a.m.

The TBI said an unknown package containing an explosive was delivered to the home on Vance Lane in Lebanon, where it exploded around 5 p.m. on Monday, February 10. Jon Setzer was killed in the blast. Marian Setzer was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after suffering critical injuries in the explosion, where she died two days later.

Parker lived in a home directly behind the Setzers.

Before his arrest, Parker sat for hours at Marion Setzer's bedside along with her other children, said Kevin Ulmet, senior pastor of the Nashville First Church of the Nazarene.

"There was no difference in his demeanor than any of the other children that we could discern at the time," Ulmet said.

Investigators said the device was not sent through the mail or delivered through any other courier service. Authorities have declined to describe the package or give a possible motive for what happened.

Parker was arrested at his home Thursday and booked into the Wilson County Jail. 

The Setzers moved to Lebanon to be closer to their daughter Laura, her husband Richard, and and their four grandchildren.

Parker's pastor said there was never any sign of trouble between the son-in-law and the Setzers.

Richard and his wife, Laura, were longtime members of the church, Ulmet said. The Setzers had been members for years before moving to Lebanon, but they still had close ties to the Nashville congregation, he said.

Parker's arrest stunned the congregation, Ulmet said.

"Everyone who knows him would describe him as gentle, thoughtful, sensitive, warm sincere," Ulmet said. "Those are words I've heard from everyone."

He said people in the congregation had all thought of Parker as a protective father who wanted his four boys to grow up safe.

Setzer and Parker are said to have been business partners in a company called Legacy Restorations.

Jon Setzer was an attorney who handled wills and trusts, but he had been in very ill health in recent years. Friends said he was on dialysis and had heart problems and high blood pressure, among other health issues.

Marian Setzer had formerly worked as a dental hygienist.

Parker has been in trouble before. In 1990, he burned down a home that he was supposed to be renovating. In that case, his father-in-law, who concentrated his practice around estates and trusts, helped represent him. Setzer's former law partner said the father-in-law helped because he didn't believe the arson charge was justified.

Parker served four years of probation and was ordered to pay $40,000 restitution.

The couple whose home was burned, Danny and Rosemary Martin, said Parker got behind on renovations and he burned their house after they confronted him about the problems and gave him a deadline to finish the job. They believed Parker got in over his head financially and thought that burning down their house would solve his problems.

His minister said the church was setting up a fund to help Laura Parker and her children because Richard Parker was the sole breadwinner in the home.

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(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)